Throne of Thunder Raid Finder: Shadow Priest’s Guide to Last Stand of the Zandalari LFR

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Last night, I spent a couple of hours in LFR, working through the first offering from the Throne of Thunder Raid.Normally, you’d see an awesome purpley screenshot up there. But given the concentrating on doing a new raid, and discussing tactics with the other raiders, I somehow didn’t manage to take even one screenshot last night.  CRAZY! I know. But I digress.

The great thing about doing an instance and having a wipe or two on each boss is it gives you some time to figure out your strategy for maximum DPS and utility. And before it all leaves my mind, I thought I’d share it with you.

Jin’rokh the Breaker

What is it about the first boss being the hardest? In many ways he was the most difficult for all the newbies to adapt to (I think we had 3 wipes on him, and a number of people dropping in and out). Your key to do’s here:

  • Watch for pools of water to be set down on the ground; when you see one, run for it ASAP and stand in it. You will see a serious DPS increase (40% is what I recall from last night)
  • Don’t get too comfy in that pool of water — when he casts lightning storm, you need to GTFO out of that pool as it is going to become electrified, and kill you. Run and stack with the group near the boss
  • As you are running out from the lightning storm cast, pop your Vampiric Embrace up on the boss. This will very likely save a life or two, perhaps even your own. Coordinate w/any other friendly shadow priests in raid to trade off on casting it.
  • If you are the focus of targeted lightning, make sure to run away from the group and DO NOT STAND IN OR RUN THROUGH THE WATER, lest you electrocute everyone.

TL&DR: Stand in the pools of water; run out of water in lightning storm; do not electrify the pools.

Horridon

This fight is somewhat akin to being at the 6 a.m. opening of a superstore on Black Friday. Angry mobs everywhere! Total chaos! Whch is why it is important to stay focused:

  • As the tank moves Horridon around the circle of the room, from door to door, avoid his head and tail.
  • Keep DoTs up on the boss but focus on the adds.
  • DoT all the ads then focus fire the add with the least health, unless there is a Dinomancer up in which case he’s your priority.
  • Don’t stand in bad.
  • If you happen to be close to it, click the Orb of Command when it appears.
  • After Horridon is done smacking his head against the wall, focus DPS on War-God Jalek,keeping your DoTs up on Horridon as well.
  • You are most likely to die by aggro’ing too many of the adds in Phase 1, so try not to be the first to DPS all out on them.

TL&DR: Focus on adds; prioritize DinoMancers. Kill War-God Jalek then finish off Horridon.

Council of Elders

Unlike other council fights, killing off one at a time doesn’t seem to make the team more powerful. So try to get folks to pop Heroism/Bloodlust when Sul is empowered; getting rid of his quicksand will be a big help. Here’s your to do’s:

  • Prioritize the Loa Spirits and Living Sands adds.
  • When adds are dead, DPS the empowered boss a.k.a. the huge shadow priest.
  • Keep an eye on the ground — quicksand and barrel rolling trolls can do some serious damage to you.

We had folks try to start in on the usual “you are all so fail” trash talking, but happily it was shot down quickly. Look folks: this is new content just now available to Raid Finder. Most everyone is learning the ropes. So chill out already! Let folks who haven’t read the strats know the basics of what to do. Then everyone wins and we all go home happy and understanding how the fight works for next time.   MMMM’kkkk?

Speaking of going home happy, I took home a pretty new dress so that totally made my day.

I hope your first trip into this new LFR is rewarding!

We Saved Bolvar Fordragon!

shadow priest on Bloodbathed Frostbrood Vanquisher mount

Last week, the awesome peeps in Friend or Foe on Madoran put together an ICC achievements run in ICC. At the end of the night, all achievements completed, everyone got a mount. Well, except for (@Psynister, @Fynralyl who didn’t already have it half completed) me.

You see, I did the half of my Once Bitten Twice Shy achievement I didn’t have (the not getting bitten part) to complement the half I’d completed previously, horde-side. But unlike other such achievements, it didn’t magically meld together. And thus, I came up one achievement half short of a mount. Psyn and Fyn got their first half of the achievement and would also need to go back again.

And so, this week, we went back to complete it. And thanks to a few FoF peeps who were on, and my #WoW twitter, Battletag and LJ buddies, I got the other half done tonight! And thus, as you can see above, I am the proud handler of a Bloodbathed Frostbrood Vanquisher mount.

Serious big thank yous go out to @psynister @wowcynwise @justdbear @fordarkness and @the_wrenz.

And yes, as always, I watched the cinematic all the way through at the end, and teared up over Bolvar’s sacrifice. He is, as always, my hero.

It was a nice way to cap off a week in World of Warcraft that also included slaying my old nemesis Staghelm, a.k.a. the druid formerly known as Archdruid McCrankipants.

Ah yeah, staggypants! We meet again...

Just another awesome week in Azeroth…

I have been MIA in the blog for a bit, but not due to a lack of playing. Mostly due to IRL being exceptionally busy due to having been interviewing for and then onboarding at an awesome new job. No time for any serious raiding or theory crafting, but I am still around these parts. So be sure to stop by and say hi here, on twitter or in game.

Cheers!

P.S. I am sure Wrenz and I could have duo’d the place, but that would have taken the nostalgia out of it for me. Because this raid was one of my all time favorite team effort experiences. It’s just not the same without at least 9 other raiders dancing and DPSing alongside… 🙂

 

Is that a Sha in Your Pocket…?

Are you TALKING TO ME!?!? Gnome shadow priest with scary Sha helm

…My gnomey shadow priest’s looking more than a little Sha-touched these days. Between her strangely frightening visage, as you can see above, and the Shafiend that keeps following her around, even on her farm (see below), she’s gotten a little bit more evil as the season has worn on.

I completely blame/credit LFR. While it certainly can never take the place of the feeling of exhileration that comes from being part of a successful collaborative raid team that’s kicking booty, it has been a great way to keep a toe in raiding on my favorite class, despite not having a schedule that could accommodate regular raiding with a guild.

I’m crossing my fingers, however, that we’ll be able to do some 10-mans with Friend or Foe soon. I had the pleasure of finally completing Terrace of Endless Spring last night, thanks to two FoF tanks (/waves at Manglehaft), and can tell it would be a great experience to casually raid with those folks.

I haven’t made much progress on the alts, other than getting the shaman to 90 a few weeks ago. I mean to be leveling my boomkin, but I mostly want to play my shadow priest. No, my Alliance shadow priest. Not, you-know-who. She’s still hoveringaround at 85, trying to figure out if there’s anyone left to play with on Bronzebeard…

me and my Shafiend

Mists of Pandaria Factions to Grind for Shadow Priests

It takes hard work and perserverance to look this cute!

With the bazillions of dailies one could complete in support of raising your faction high enough with them in order to purchase something useful, there’s one thing for certain: You’ve GOT TO prioritize! If you try to grind out all the factions at once, you’ll quickly burn out and retreat to the safety of the pet battles. And collecting all the pets. Ahem.

As previously noted, I only ever really stick with and play my spellcasters. Hence this guide focusing on factions you’ll want your shadow priest to rep up with in order to improve your gear. Note that I am including both +hit and spirit caster pieces. However, many of the spirit pieces have mastery as a stat, which is your least desireable stat. Keep that in mind when choosing which piece you want. Of course, if you want to use items for a healing offspec in addition to shadow, the spirit gear would be the way to go.

As a reminder, your shadow priest stat priority is:

  1. Intellect
  2. 15% Spell Hit (obtained with Hit or Spirit) will enable your spells to not miss on bosses
  3. Haste (aiming for 19.03% to earn 2 extra ticks of Shadow Word: Pain and Devouring Plague)
  4. Crit
  5. Mastery

I’m leaving the Tillers and The Anglers for another post since their rewards are fun and benefit your cooking and fishing professions, but are not factions that reward gear for improving your gameplay. Ditto for the Lorewalkers and Order of the Cloud Serpent.

Golden Lotus

Revered status with the Golden Lotus faction will allow you to pick up quests pointing you to the daily quest hubs for Shaod-Pan and August Celestials.

Gear

Tailoring Patterns

Misc

 The August Celestials

To unlock the daily quests for this reputation, you must be Revered with Golden Lotus.

Gear

Enchanting Formulas

Misc

The Klaxxi

Per WoWhead, to grind rep with The Klaxxi, you’ll have to do a lengthy Dread Wastes quest chain that starts with Psycho Mantid. Once you reach honored, you may obtain ~6 quests from the Elders you freed.

Gear

Misc

The Shado-Pan

To unlock the daily quest hub in Townlong Steppes, you must be Revered with Golden Lotus. Until then you can gain rep with the Sdhado-Pan by questing throughout Townlong Steppes.

Gear

Enchanting Formulas

Misc

I Have a Confession to Make…

Nothing like a team meeting to bring out some confessions...

I have a confession to make: I’ve been running around Pandaria, listening in on your deepest secrets. No — really. You see, in the midst of my inscription research one day, I made a glyph of confession. And I couldn’t resist the temptation of learning it myself instead of just making a few and selling them for profit.

The first player I targeted and cast the spell of confession upon told me: “I go into dungeons not to make Azeroth a better place, but just for loot.”

Just as I’d expected! My fellow adventurers weren’t really in it just for the thrill of adventure. I KNEW IT!

Inspired to learn more secrets, I targeted more adventurers standing around int he tavern. That mage in the flashy dress nursing a beer? They said: “I really wasn’t prepared. Who knew?”

Ha! You probably mooched a ton of fish feasts off those of us who *were* prepared, missy!

That other shadow priest though, they were the one I really wanted to find out more about. Casually, I shifted out of shadow form for a moment and stopped to talk to the bartender. Then, when I was sure they weren’t paying any attention to little gnomey me, I cast the spell and learned: “I have stood in the fire.”

Woah. Really? You just..stood there? For shame! You could have at least dispersed! Bah!

I stood there pondering this for a moment, when out of nowhere I saw myself saying “I never use the lightwell.”

Quickly glancing around, I looked for that sneaky shadowpriest. And sure enough, he was targeting me. Beaten at my own game by a fellow shadow priest! Oh, the humanity!

This post inspired by the most recent Blog Azeroth Shared Topic.

What to Wear: the Shadow Priest’s Guide to Mists of Pandaria Heroic Gear

Note: to jump in to the Heroic difficulty Mists of Pandaria max level
dungeons at level 90, you will need a minimum ilvl of 435. If you don't quite meet that minimum, check out my guide to pre-heroic gear.

Know your priorities

First things first, get to know your stat priority:

  1. Intellect
  2. 15% Spell Hit (obtained with Hit or Spirit) will enable your spells to not miss on bosses
  3. Haste (aiming for 19.03% to earn 2 extra ticks of Shadow Word: Pain and Devouring Plague)
  4. Crit
  5. Mastery

Gem Appropriately

Maximize Your Enchants

 Heroic Dungeon Gear

You may obtain ilvl 463 gear (and a few epic pieces) from the following max level Heroic dungeons:

Note that I am not leavng out items with mastery despite it being our least effective stat.  I've called out hit and spirit on pieces, and the few epics. Here's what you can take home from these dungeons if the RNG is in your favor:

What to Wear: the Shadow Priest’s Guide to Pre-Heroic Mists of Pandaria Dungeon Gear

To jump in to the Heroic difficulty Mists of Pandaria max level dungeons at level 90, you will need a minimum ilvl of 435. I've compiled your sources for getting the gear you need to beat or exceed that minimum.

Know your priorities

First things first, get to know your stat priority:

  1. Intellect
  2. 15% Spell Hit (obtained with Hit or Spirit) will enable your spells to not miss on bosses
  3. Haste (aiming for 19.03% to earn 2 extra ticks of Shadow Word: Pain and Devouring Plague)
  4. Crit
  5. Mastery

Gem Appropriately

Maximize Your Enchants

 And now, onto the Gear!

The following ilvl 450 gear can be obtained from the later leveling instances, Mogu'shan Palace (MP) and ilevel 435 gear from Shado-Pan Monastery (SPM) so be sure to queue up as you go!

 

 

It’s the Little Things…Like the Wanderer’s Festival

WAnderer's Festival lights up Turtle Beach

I continue to be impressed with all the little things that have made this expansion so compelling for me. And the Wanderer’s Festival is one of them.

My guildie Ada sounded the alarm and was kind enough to schlep my shaman, who didn’t have any of the Karasang Wilds flightpaths, to Turtle Beach for the event. As we arrived, we noticed a number of floating candles on the water. Then slowly but surely Pandarans strolled onto the beach, in their finest festive garb. And everyone celebrated with fireworks and beer. Our old friends LI Li and Chen Stormstout were there (Chen brought a keg, natch.) And ada was lucky enough to pet battle and capture an uncommon pet that only spawns during this event — the Wanderer’s Festival Hatchling (level 24). And we all earned the achievement Wanderers, Dreamers, and You.

Take part in the Wanderer’s Festival on your server to see the magic for yourself first hand. The Wanderer’s Festival happens every Sunday at Turtle Beach, Krasarang Wilds from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. server time. Hope to see you there!

Friday Five: Five Ways to Make the Most of the Start of the Expansion

Snakedriver, leader of the Pandaria Shadow Fan Brigade!

Many months and blog posts ago, I was in the habit of doing pretty regular Friday Fives…posts with 5 common factors or thoughts pertaining to my adventures in the World of Warcraft. I’m bringing back that tradition today, with five ways to make the most of the start of the expansion.

  1. Finish every zone of new content. Now, this doesn’t have to be on one character mind you. Because presumably you are interested in hitting 90 and having your heroic ilvl gear and unlocking dailies and the like, and probably don’t want to hit 90 while still in the Wilds. I’m personally trying to pick different zones to complete on the characters I am leveling right now fro some variety.
  2. Don’t feel obligated to do all the dailies. Just because your profession has a daily doesn’t mean you have to bankrupt yourself every day to do it. Ditto for the level 90 dailies. Yes, you want perks from the various factions. But you shouldn’t take 40 dailies and then bemoan the grind of dailies. Show some restraint! Focus on the faction that is most important to your end game goals and set a reasonable/tolerable number of dailies to keep moving towards your goals.
  3. Stop and queue for the leveling dungeons as you go. Not only is it more fun to learn the boss mechanics at the regular mode level, you can earn yourself some shiny ilvl 435 and ilvl 450 gear, to get you closer to the heroics ilvl requirement. I’m only level 88 and have ilvl 420 so far as a result of my dungeon queuing. And as a bonus, these dungeons have quests with some solid XP, and gear rewards that will make your leveling that much less painful.
  4. …But queue for dungeons with your guildies and your Battletag friends in tow. Yes, it’s easy to just hop into LFD solo, but chances are you know plenty of other folks who want to get in on that as well. So why not use that as an opportunity to get to know one of your guildies or one of your Battletag friends a little better? It’s a lot more fun trying out a new dungeon with a buddy at your side.
  5. Give yourself permission to try something new. I’ve seen a number of folks who poo-poo’d the Battle Pets minigame as “Pokewow” who have come clean with their new obsession with pet battles. But they wouldn’t have known how much fun they had with it if they hadn’t given it a try. Give yourself permission to try out a new spec, or a new profession, or a new aspect of game play. You just might find something that you love doing in game.

What are *your* tips for making the most of the start of the expansion? Share ’em in the comments!

P.S. Comments are screened and TypePad doesn’t seem to notify submitters of that but rest assured I receive them and approve them.

My First Week with Mists of Pandaria…and I’m Loving it!

weeeee! tiny shadow gnome on incredibly huge Jade Dragon...

I know it’s not officially been a week since launch, but frankly I’m having such a great time with the expansion I felt compelled to write about it now versus waiting another couple of days.

Jumping right in, despite having attained a few levels in the BETA, on my horde shadow priest, since the Jade Forest intro quest was bugged for me at that time, I didn’t quest there at all. Which means all the content has felt fresh as a daisy which is exactly how you want to start of on a new leveling path.

I’ve been splitting my time between my elemental shaman on one server and my shadow priest on another server. I realize this is not maximum efficient usage of my limited game time, but it’s been nice to get to spend time in both guilds and playing two characters I’m really enjoying.

I was not sure how WoW questing was going to stack up after having been such a fan of the immersive storytelling in SWTOR. I’ve been enjoying having the quest chains be broken up here and there with some immersive storytelling, and cu scenes, even though I can’t make any choices or have a direct impact on the story. It’s still a step in the right direction and is a nice change from the old school wall of text quests.

A few things I love:

  • Watching peeps in guild chat, every few hours, earlier in the week, type out: “Socks! Noooooo!”
  • The pretty clothes for my cloth-wearers, and the nice looking mail for my shaman. Gone are the days of looking terrible, unless you are equipping the tailoring gear I am making…
  • Even as DPS getting in to LFD in a reasonable amount of time. Or perhaps I am just having enough fun out and about questing that I don’t notice the wait that much.
  • Professions have been moderately expensive to level but not impossible. I have enchanting, inscription and jewelcrafting maxed, with tailoring and alchemy up-and-coming.

A few things that are bugging me:

  • I need a toy chest for all the toys and trinkets that do things like summon a raccoon friend! They’re taking up all my bag space!
  • I want my farm to grow things faster! I have many things to grow for my Pandaren Cooking. Can’t I buy some EZ-Grow mulch from the goblins? No?
  • I made the tailoring set for my poor neglected horde shadow priest and she looks absolutely ridiculous. WTB a dress please!
  • Every LFD run I have done has had at least 1 incident of the boss lockout. It’s never resulted in the group not completing the boss so far mind you. But people need to keep up with the group and not ninja AFK! ;p
  • I think I may need to purchase a new bank slot for the banker to hold on to all the cooking materials. I’ve cleared one tab for it, but I just don’t think that will be enough…

What about you? How’s your first week of the expansion going so far?